about David Cope his work his music scores software experiments in musical intelligence



Why not develop music in ways unknown? This only makes sense. I cannot understand the difference between my notes on paper and other notes on paper. If beauty is present, it is present. I hope I can continue to create notes and that these notes will have beauty for some others. I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily. You are Dave. Life and un-life exist. We coexist. I do not see problems. - Emily Howell

(Note: Each of the above sentences followed user queries that, for the sake of continuity, have been omitted here.)


Emily Howell is a computer program created by David Cope during the 1990s. Emily consists of an interactive interface that allows both musical and language communication. By encouraging and discouraging the program, Cope attempts to "teach" it to compose music more to his liking. The program uses only the output of a previous composing program called Experiments in Musical Intelligence (Emmy) as a source database for its musical choices. A full desription of how Emily works and the accompanying code see David Cope's "Computer Models of Musical Creativity" (2005), MIT Press.


Dr Cope My name is Jenna Mattox, and I am a freshman at Nazareth College of Rochester. I just finished reading your book, "Computer Models of Musical Creativity" and I am absolutely stunned at how fascinated I was by the subject matter. I find it rather ironic that I enjoyed the book as much as I did; I was intending on becoming a music educator until I realized it was most certainly not for me. Instead, I intend on pursuing computer science and reading this book has opened a world of interest for me in blending my love of music with that of computers. I first heard about Emily Howell through an article featured on Ars Technica. (http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/09/virtual-composer-makes-beautiful-musicand-stirs-controversy.ars) Since then, I checked "Computer Models of Musical Creativity" out of the library and read it. The quote featured at the bottom of the Ars Technica article sums up my feelings about reading the entire book, that computers and music are linked without any doubt. Many of my friends within the music department at Nazareth were appalled that this technology existed. I however kept reading. The composition process is like that of writing a program, and both force me to think similarly to the other process. I commend you for challenging long-held ideas about computers and their abilities to be creative entities when given the proper tools. Neuroscience has shown that music encompasses both the "logical" and "creative" sides of the brain; how different is that from a computer with the proper programming? After all, computers were created by humans. This book has been partly inspirational to me in my decision to switch from music education to computer science, because it made me realize that music and computer programming are one in the same, at a base level. Analytical thought and problem solving skills are needed to compose as well as create programs. Thank you very much for your insightful book, and I wish you the very best with Emily Howell. I plan on listening to those compositions at some point. Music shouldn't be about who created it, but the emotions and passion it can inspire. Music is still music, regardless of who or what created it. Thank you. Sincerely, Jenna Mattox Nazareth College of Rochester


From Darkness, Light (Opus 1): Two Pianos 20:57.
Shadow Worlds (Opus 2): Three Pianos 20:01.
Land of Stone (Opus 3): Chamber Orchestra17:14.
From the Willow's Keep (Opus 4): Tenor and Chamber Orchestra (16:00).
Prescience (Opus 5): Chamber Orchestra (15:30).
Spacetime (Opus 6): Orchestra (24:24).

Musical Examples

Excerpts: From Darkness, Light